Why Eat Organic?

By:
Kristine Burke
Date:
April 4, 2016

The next time you are lamenting your spare tire or that stubborn bulge around your middle think about this ... it is not just what you are eating, it is also about what was eaten by what you are eating!

Huh, you say?

Well, let me explain. "Persistent organic pollutants," or POPs, are synthetic organic compounds that (unlike organic compounds from natural sources) resist chemical degradation in the environment. That long persistence time makes it so they can "bioaccumulate," or build up in the tissues of animals near the top of the food chain, such as fish, beef, pork, and poultry. They also accumulate in milk and butter. Specifically, they are chemicals like pesticides, flame retardants, plastic additives, and cosmetics that, once in the body, become endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs). EDCs are non-biologic substances that act like a hormone in the body.

The World Health Organization 2012 report states that multiple reports have "concluded that there is emerging evidence for adverse reproductive outcomes (infertility, cancers, malformations) from exposure to EDCs, and there is also mounting evidence for effects of these chemicals on thyroid function, brain function, obesity and metabolism, and insulin and glucose homeostasis." Close to 800 chemicals are known or suspected to be capable of interfering with hormone receptors,hormone synthesis or hormone conversion. Cord blood of newborn babies has been found to have an average of over 200 chemicals, so imagine what your own body may contain!

So, what do we do? Start by choosing organic ingredients whenever possible to reduce exposure to these types of chemicals. If that seems dauntingly expensive, check out the Environmental Working Group's "Dirty Dozen" list of the 12 most highly contaminated produce items, and at a minimum choose to buy those items organically grown. Every little bit helps!

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